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A boy, some grahams and a vision

Holly Spangler Nathan Spangler with graham cracker combine
SWEET SUCCESS: Nathan Spangler shows off his gingerbread combine.
It’s a Merry Christmas after all, once my budding engineer found a better gingerbread project.

My 15-year-old son is like a lot of 15-year-old sons: He’s not as interested in things like decorating gingerbread houses as he once was.

And then I showed him this:

Forget the lame-o house. It was game on for the gingerbread combine!

Nathan was a boy with some grahams and a vision. Sure, the going got tough, especially when the hopper extension fell apart. But we cheered him on, and he persevered. He also abandoned frosting for hot glue pretty quickly because, let’s be real, that’s faster and more efficient and 15-year-old boys aren’t exactly purists. This particular one, anyway, favors fast and efficient.

However, he put a solid seven hours into this thing. He spent time carving out graham crackers with his pocketknife. He eyeballed proportions, used the empty graham cracker boxes for the inner support, and built a cab like a boss. A yellow M&M made a nice GPS receiver. We’re big fans of the Twizzler pull and peel header auger, too.

Somewhere around the four- to five-hour mark, he was cutting back ice cream cones for snouts and his dad appeared with a Sawzall. Genius or redneck? I vote both. Also, fast and efficient.

He topped the whole thing off with just enough green, yellow and black icing, fashioned a couple of mirrors, and the whole thing was good to go. Please also note the candy cane cornstalks. By morning, they were reluctant to stand so we deemed them derecho corn and rolled on.

Next up: Nathan has a plan for a John Deere 9620RX quad trac and an Unverferth 2596 auger wagon, which is, as he points out, the world’s biggest auger wagon. I can vouch for that as it’s currently half done on my counter. Bring on the gingerbread!

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